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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Just One More Reason…

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Jonah Goldberg:

“The status quo needs to be shaken up!” I agree. “We need to break the stranglehold of political correctness!” Absolutely. “We must escape the kinds of Reagan nostalgia that stifle policy innovation!” You’re singing my tune. “Foreign policy must refocus on American national interest.” Good idea. And so on.

But then comes the “and therefore we have to rally behind Donald Trump!” And I’m like, “Wait, what?”

My host here, Hugh Hewitt:

“It’s like ignoring stage-four cancer. You can’t do it, you gotta go attack it,” Hewitt said. “And right now the Republican Party is facing — the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours.”

Hewitt said he disagreed with Republican senators like Lindsey Graham and Mark Kirk who said they could not vote for their party’s nominee. “I wanna support the nominee of the party, but I think the party ought to change the nominee. Because we’re going to get killed with this nominee.”

And finally, Jay Cost:

Neither Trump or Clinton is committed to the republican tradition of government of the people, by the people, and for all the people. They do not see Americans as Americans. They see each of us as potential allies or foes, depending upon their small-minded political calculations. And it is not unreasonable to fear that they will wield the mighty powers of the executive branch accordingly.

Three very respected conservative Republican voices making the case for why Donald Trump is hugely problematic as the GOP nominee – three amongst a multitude that I have chosen because they come closest to my thoughts on the whole thing.   Goldberg points out that by-and-large the pro-Trump arguments just don’t hold up under careful examination.  The only one that comes close to working is one Goldberg does not address – Trump is preferable to Hillary.   But even this later argument is a bit like saying ptomaine poisoning is preferable to salmonella – it may not be quite as bad, but it’s still pretty sick.  Hewitt’s solution to the Trump problem is my preferred solution as it holds a chance to salvage this election cycle.  All other solutions (like an independent run) are really conceding this cycle and setting the stage the next.  Cost is arguing for an independent Romney run, and while my devotion to Romney is unwavering I have already stated why I think an independent run is not the best solution.  But Cost does come closest to stating why I think Trump is such a huge problem, and I want to expand on it a bit.

The problems with Trump are not really about policy.  Trump has not been consistent enough in any policy area to have a target to aim at.  The problem in not just optics.  Those that say his attack on the judge is not really racism, just bad presentation, are being good apologists.  But they fail to address the real problem at the heart of Trump’s comments.  In attacking a judge presiding over a case in which Trump is a litigant as the presumptive nominee of the GOP for the presidency he is using the power of his candidacy and possible presidency for personal gain.

It’s not the first time he has used threats of presidential action in his personal business dealings.  Last week he threatened the PGA when they moved a tournament from one of his courses in Florida to one in Mexico:

“Can you believe it?” Trump asked the crowd at a rally here Wednesday evening. “Think of it: They moved the PGA Tour — moved the World Golf Championship — from Miami, where they’re furious, to Mexico City. Not good.”

He continued: “But that’s okay. Folks, it’s all going to be settled, you vote for Donald Trump as president. If I become your president, this stuff is all going to stop.”

Just these two incidences alone are sufficient to question whether Trump is more interested in making America great again or enhancing his own fortunes.  I am sure the Trump apologists will argue this is just more complaining from Trump about jobs moving off shore, but why are all the examples he cites Trump-branded examples?

George Washington set the mold of the president as pubic servant, not an aristocratic, monarchical figure.  Even the Clinton’s with all their self-enrichment, often obtained in circumstances that are highly ethically compromised, have tried to maintain a veneer of public service.  Trump creates no such illusion.

While pleading with Romney for an independent run, Cost cites the example of Martin Van Burens’s 1848 massively losing run and claims vindication for it in the rise of Lincoln some 12 years later.  Cost says this:

A true statesman is called to the same task in 2016—to defend the principles upon which our republic was founded, regardless of the chances of victory.

Cost is absolutely correct in noting that the founding principles of the republic are at stake this election.  Are we to remain a nation built on governance as public service, or are we to transition to governance as a means to self enrichment?

If the Republicans stay the course with Trump, even with an independent alternative, it should be noted that Van Buren’s vindication came with the Whig party virtually gone and the Free Soil party having gone the way of all things – Lincoln arose in a whole new party.  The Republicans have an opportunity to preserve the party and the founding principles of the republic by changing horses at the convention.


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